Shining a Light on Smart Cities

February 16, 2017 Acuity News

Updating antiquated public lighting systems is often perceived as a necessary evil, and as such, can be governed by a linear thought process: replace old high pressure sodium (HPS) luminaires with LEDs and save money. Install once, and be done with maintenance.

It’s a solid, but limited mindset. For certain, lighting infrastructure renovation is about improving illumination and lowering energy and maintenance costs, but it can be much more.

LED lighting can be a catalyst for creating a truly smart city. Here are just a few examples of how solid-state lighting and networked controls can improve city operations and enhance quality of life for citizens:

  • LED lighting helps improve nighttime visibility over HPS light sources, helping to make  streets and roads safer to navigate
  • Networked lighting systems using wireless streetlight monitoring technology, like our ROAM® outdoor controls, can be monitored, metered and managed remotely for more efficient lighting operations and more favorable consumption-based utility tariffs. Remote monitoring can also dramatically reduce costly drive-by visual lighting inspections.
  • Additional energy costs can be realized through multi-level dimming strategies, such as scheduled dusk/dawn trimming for street lights and dimming in residential areas.
  • LED luminaires can be outfitted with a variety of sensors that can provide real-time data on traffic flows, volumes and speeds; as well as alert on abnormal or emergency situations. In the future, these smart systems will be able to support a host of Internet of Things applications.
  • And, all of these smart functions contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.

We’re still at the forefront of the smart city evolution, but cities are moving in the right direction. Here are examples of cities making good decisions to make their streets and roads smarter:

  • The City of West Richland, WA upgraded 1,097 city-owned HPS street lighting fixtures to our American Electric Lighting® (AEL) Autobahn ATBS  LEDs with the ROAM outdoor control system. The city was able to reduce annual electric consumption by 61 percent – all while improving illumination and safety. No small feat for a city of 13,000.
  • The City of El Paso, TX achieved total energy and maintenance savings of 67 percent after it replaced its 175-watt metal halide decorative fixtures with 10,600 AEL Autobahn ATBS luminaires and 1,000 Holophane® Washington Postlite luminaires, along with ROAM controls. El Paso cut operational costs and increased light levels by 10 percent, making downtown business owners happier with better illuminated store fronts and a heightened sense of security. The upgrade also helped the city achieve its sustainability goals,

Smart infrastructure isn’t limited to city and roadway projects. Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Indiana, updated its aging HID luminaires around the prison yard and perimeter with a connected LED lighting and controls system, including from our Holophane brand 120 Phuzion™ high bay luminaires in housing units and 142 HMAO LED II high mast luminaires on the facilities perimeter.  The smart system helped improve facility security while cutting energy costs by over 50 percent.

Networked outdoor LED lighting systems help public streets, roads and facilities be safer, operate more efficiently and serve as a foundation for future technology-driven infrastructure enhancements. It’s a smart way to practice good government.    

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